Pounding exercises are designed, in part, to help you release pent-up energy.
Before pouring a drink or turning on the TV after work, try these exercises. They can bring instantaneous relief from stress, irritation, and many other negative emotions.
For example, let’s say you get home, still feeling upset about a meeting that occurred earlier. You’re wound up and filled with unpleasant energy. Because during that meeting, you were seriously pissed off and you couldn’t do anything about it. Now you’re home with your loved ones and you don’t want to feel that way. So, your normal route is to try to forget it with alcohol or TV. But here’s an alternative. Spend five minutes privately discharging the energy from that meeting. Build your awareness of how you really felt and what you wanted to say. Use that pissed-off energy constructively and be done with it!
Stand in front of your sofa, bed, bioenergetics cube, or Smash-Block™. Make fists and raise them back over your head, arching your body backward so it makes the shape of an archer’s bow. Now slam your fists down on the soft surface, yelling something like “No!” “Piss off!” or “Get away from me!”, if you can. Or yell any sound as your fists hit the soft surface. Be sure to bend your knees slightly so that all the force of the movement goes into your fists and your forearms as they slam onto the sofa, bed, bioenergetics cube, or Smash-Block™. Start slow and work up.
The goal of this exercise is to build your confidence and capacity to handle strong emotions. So, pay attention to your stance, particularly your feet. While doing this exercise, you want to keep your feet firmly planted on the floor at all times. By doing so, you will build confidence, not volatility.
If you can’t yell or verbalize, exhale very strongly. Exhalation activates the “relaxation” part of your nervous system. Repeat this movement until you are exhausted, and you will be surprised how calm you feel.
Alternatively, you can face a bed, couch, bioenergetics cube, or Smash-Block™ with a tennis racket or a bat. Take the grip in both hands, bend backward in the same manner as described above, and slam the bat or tennis racket onto the soft surface. Start slow and work up.
Or, you might go into your backyard and slam a sledgehammer down on a tire or a baseball bat on a pile of sandbags.
A Responsible Practice
However you decide to do the movement, hit only your intended target. Let yourself go into the feelings that arise and spend that high-charged energy. Become fully aware of the story you apply to your feelings, no matter how irrational it seems. Go with it.
But before you get started, there are 3 rules to this practice:
- Never use this exercise to threaten anyone or as a form of communication with someone who doesn’t understand what you’re doing.
- Do not hurt yourself or anyone else.
- Do not harm anyone’s property including your own.
Vocalization and pounding
Getting yourself worked up into an emotional state with this exercise allows you to examine what goes on in your head in stressful situations. So, for maximum benefit, combine verbal expressions with the pounding. By doing so, you are building self-awareness and not just letting off steam.
“A person should be free enough to be able to express his anger physically where it is appropriate. Most people are too frightened of violence to be able to express anger in a physical way without extreme provocation. There is a taboo in our culture against hitting, which is unfortunate since it mostly operates to render innocent people helpless before bullies.
Are you frightened of your own potential for violence? In that case, repeated use of the exercise will reduce your anxiety and give you more control over your anger.”
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You can also use the pounding exercise as a daily active meditation, even when you are not angry or stressed. Using it in this way can allow you to gain insights about yourself and how to constructively use your energy for lasting peace of mind vs loosing your head under stress.